Our History: 1970–90

The Emergence of a University: 1970–90

In the 1970s, the decision to pursue a university model as the standard for Seattle Pacific’s future led to a new academic curriculum, academic reorganization, and higher professional standards for faculty. The College officially became Seattle Pacific University on June 5, 1977, by a vote of the Board of Trustees and began a new era of academic offerings and achievement.

The decade of the 1970s saw the most dramatic development of resources and programs for learning in SPU’s first century. In 1982, McKenna Hall was constructed, housing the University’s AACSB-accredited School of Business, Government, and Economics.

New courses, majors, academic programs, and approaches to learning demonstrated the innovative character of Seattle Pacific. For example, in 1976, Seattle Pacific received a gift of 965 acres on Blakely Island in the San Juan Islands. A cutting-edge research station was built on site for faculty and students studying marine and wildlife biology.

During the 1980s, SPU continued to strengthen its relationship with the church community, and student participation in city and overseas ministry grew rapidly. SPRINT (Seattle Pacific Reachout International) teams served from Alberta, Canada, to India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.